Persistent Baptists

From ABCCONN Historical Committee
Revision as of 21:39, 20 February 2015 by KButler (talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search
First Baptist on Hastings Hill
The Great Awakening in the early 1740’s began as an attempt to reinvigorate the Congregational Church (the Standing Order) and ended with an increase in the number of Baptists, Methodists, and other groups. The Suffield Congregational Church suffered a split with a group (the “New Lights”) forming a church which met on Zion’s Hill three miles west of Suffield center. This congregation eventually split - some returned to the Congregational church and some became Baptists in 1769 with Joseph Hastings as pastor. The First Baptist Church of Suffield was the first Baptist church in Hartford County and it became a strong church.

SECOND BAPTIST ORGANIZED: A little company of Baptists, fifteen in number, living in the eastern part of Suffield, at too great a distance from the church on Zion’s Hill to attend its services without much inconvenience, met in the district school house on Feather St. and on May 22, 1802[5] organized the Second Baptist Church of Suffield. With them met in council were Elders and brethren from the First Baptist Church in Suffield, the Baptist Churches of West Springfield, Wilbraham, Windsor, and Groton.

Suitable House of Worship: From the very beginning of the “new movement” the want of a suitable house of worship was deeply felt. At a meeting held Jan. 7,1806, in the school house of the Center District, it appeared that over two thousand dollars had already been subscribed towards defraying the expense of a lot and the meeting house. On account of the opposition and persecution of the “Standing Order”, great difficulty was experienced in securing a lot in the center of the town. Finally the lot was settled on..... and the building committee commenced to collect construction material. They failed to secure a title to the lot while the owner, Mr. Seth Austin, was living, and the administrator, being unfriendly to the enterprise, refused to confirm Mr. Austin’s contract. This involved the church in expensive litigation and delayed the building. The lot was finally passed into the hands of Mr. Thomas Archer, Sr. from whom they purchased it and secured title. The original plans of the meeting house specified that it should be ‘ sixty feet long, forty feet wide and twenty four feet post.” When the day for raising came they found that some of the timbers had been mutilated during the previous night with saw and axe, and parts of the frame had been hidden in wells, and other parts scattered here and there. They forthwith ‘ set a watch against them day and night’. The new meeting house was dedicated some time between 1808 and 1810.

THE ‘OLD BARN‘ : For eleven years the congregation met on Sabbath morning to worship God in this meeting house called in derision the old barn, the furniture of which, consisted of rude slab benches and a few chairs, brought in for the aged women from the dwellings of friendly neighbors. The carpenter’s bench was still standing in the rear of the minister’s desk, and the only seats in the house in the form of settees were two, made and occupied by Col. Luther Loomis and Luther Hathaway and families, and Jonathan K. Kent. No stoves but foot stoves were used. Not until the year 1819 were pews put in, galleries constructed and a pulpit placed against the wall. Thus it remained without modification or improvement, till supplanted in 1840 by the one we now worship in

located in a more central site.” [1] (Timbers from the Old Barn structure were also used in construction of the present edifice.)

  1. [Narrative for “Pictures from the Past” by Mrs. Frederick B. Nash , “The One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of The Second Baptist Church, Suffield, Connecticut , May 22, 1955.”]